Reckitt: Supporting African healthcare startups to promote equitable healthcare access

At a glance
Who: Reckitt
What: Financial support for six healthcare startups
Where: Africa
Why: To mobilise access to equitable healthcare and climate finance
When: In 12 months

The challenge

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report, Africa is home to 36 out of the 57 countries globally experiencing a severe shortage of healthcare professionals.

This scarcity is primarily attributed to subpar working conditions and insufficient compensation. Additionally, challenges in recruiting and retaining staff are exacerbated by factors such as political instability and persistent financial crises.

The solution

As part of CGEF, Reckitt will be supporting six African healthcare startups using the non-profit Women in Innovation Fund (WiNFUND), leveraging NFTs (unique digital artworks) to empower female-led healthcare innovation startups and promote equitable healthcare access.

How the project works

Initiated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with Amazon, CGEF aims to achieve a target of $60m in capital from corporations, foundations, bi/multilateral organisations, and other supporters.

The objective is to enhance the availability of climate finance for organisations that are gender-responsive, led by women, or have a positive impact on women, and are actively engaged in addressing climate change.

The project received 300 applications from seven countries across Africa. Reckitt announced the six winners during the UN Climate Week 2023. The six startups will receive investment and mentorship over a 12-month period.

Additional information

The six small businesses selected as part of the funding programme include:

  1. Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, co-founder of Community Healthcare Innovation Lab (CHIL)- which screens women in remote locations of Uganda for cervical and breast cancer using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  2. Adeola Ayoola, co-founder and CEO of Famasi Africa- A Nigerian online pharmacy platform that connects individuals and businesses to pharmacies.
  3. Dr Mercy Ashaba, co-founder and CEO of Peleyta Health- A fintech startup in Uganda whose micro savings and lending platform helps Ugandans on low incomes afford the costs of healthcare.
  4. Judith Oketch, founder and CEO of Ambulex Solutions- which provides emergency healthcare solutions for low-income communities in Kenya.
  5. Olivia Koburongo, founder of Mama Ope Medicals- A device and software company in Uganda that develops innovative solutions to improve access to quality healthcare in low resource settings.
  6. Belinda Shaw, founder of Cape Bio Pharms- A South African biotech firm that does plant-molecular pharming of recombinant proteins that can be used as research or diagnostic reagents.

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